Aeroacoustics of Electrically Propelled Air Vehicles

A transformational era in flight is upon us with the increased ubiquity of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The burgeoning interest in Unmanned Aerial Mobility (UAM) for mobilizing cargo and passengers may result in increased air traffic near populated areas. While the precise application and market for these vehicles is still developing, there will definitely be more of these UAM vehicles flying in and around populated areas. One of the key enabling factors for realizing the quantity and frequency of flights that are envisioned will be the noise levels produced by UAM as they operate in populated areas. To develop low noise UAM, air vehicle designers need data, design tools, and technology to enable the development of quiet vehicles from conceptual design stage all of the way through detailed design.

This project will involve assisting with:

  1. Conduct time-resolved particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements to investigate acoustic source mechanisms in various
  2. Near-field acoustic measurements in the anechoic chamber to gain greater insight into the noise directivity and noise source mechanisms
  3. Analyze acoustics and flow data and develop new analysis techniques for assessing the available data
Artist's rendition of drones flying in a city.

Vision for UAM Airspace Integration

Diagram of acoustic sources in a UAM., including turbulence ingestion, blade-vortex interaction, blade-fuselage interaction, recirculation, blade thickness and loading, rotor-wake interaction, fuselage-wake interaction, and engine/motor.

Possible acoustic sources for a UAM Vehicle

Development of a Modular Wind Tunnel for Hypersonic Propulsion Research

Hypersonic flight involves flying at Mach numbers greater than Mach 5. The propulsion systems to propel aircraft at these speeds have multiple shock wave systems for compressing the incoming air for achieving combustion. This presents many challenges such as energy losses due to shock-boundary layer interactions. Additionally, achieving ignition and sustaining combustion at these conditions is extremely challenging. A new facility is currently being designed and developed with planned fabrication in the summer of 2022. The facility will have full optical access in the test section to enable advanced optical diagnostics internal to the propulsion flowpath with the ability to control backpressure which simulates changing conditions during hypersonic flight.

This project will involve assisting with:

  1. Detailed manufacturing drawings of the 3D CAD wind tunnel design
  2. Development of control systems for wind tunnel operation
  3. Development of software for wind tunnel control and data acquisition

Aeroacoustics of Human Ears

Aeroacoustics is the study of noise generated from aerodynamic phenomena. A common source of noise, aerodynamic turbulence, is found everywhere from nature to aircraft systems. This project will involve measuring the turbulent flow over a human head and human ear across a range of conditions in a low-speed wind tunnel. This project will analyze detailed measurements of the turbulent flow, realistic acoustics in the human ear, and study flow control to reduce turbulence noise on the human ear to improve audibility in windy environments.

Initial acoustic and flow measurements have been conducted on the ear installed in a 3D-printed model head. The student involved will:

  1. Analyze the velocity field data already acquired
  2. Develop designs for controlling the flow in the vicinity of the ear to reduce noise.
  3. Acquire additional acoustic and flow measurements with the flow control devices applied will be conducted to characterize the effectiveness and change in the acoustic source field.
HBK 4620 Acoustic Transducer with Pinnae and Ear Canal

HBK 4620 Acoustic Transducer with Pinnae and Ear Canal


Headshot of Daniel R. Cuppoletti

Daniel R. Cuppoletti

Assistant Professor, CEAS - Aerospace Eng